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Series / Storm of the Century

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"Give me what I want and I'll go away..."

Storm of the Century is a 1999 television Mini Series scripted by Stephen King and starring Tim Daly, Colm Feore, Debrah Farentino, and Jeffrey DeMunn.

The worst storm in sixty years is about to hit the coast of Maine, but the people living on Little Tall Island have a bigger problem to deal with, for the Devil has come to town, and he's going to be having some fun today...

This miniseries contains examples of:

  • 20 Minutes into the Past: While the miniseries was released in 1999, it's set in the late 1980s.
  • Accentuate the Negative: Linoge is accused of this by Mike, who claims that he's focusing on the sins instead of the good deeds. Linoge counters that the good deeds are mostly in his imagination.
  • Affably Evil: Linoge is polite and has a very pleasant bearing. He's also nice to children, especially Ralphie. He has one or two moments where he flashes some anger, but he spends most of the mini-series speaking quite reasonably and pleasantly to the people he's torturing.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Is Linoge capable of doing everything he said he can do, or was he bluffing? The movie never makes it clear either way, though Linoge's "perhaps you tricked yourselves" line somewhat implies the latter.
  • Arc Words: "Give me what I want, and I'll go away."
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: See Linoge's quote at Dark Secret. Also, for all the sins he recounts, Mike's big secret is that he... cheated on a test to keep his scholarship.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Mike is very devout and said to always have an appropriate quote for a given situation, though his description of Job is decidedly glib.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Linoge does indeed "get what he wants."
  • Berserk Button: Never touch Ralphie without Mike's permission. This extends to all the parents when Linoge hypnotizes the kids and renders them comatose.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Linoge can manifest pitch-black eyes at will.
  • Break the Cutie: Kat Withers. First, she receives a Hannibal Lecture from Linoge, which reveals that she had an abortion, and that her boyfriend has been cheating on her in front of everyone in the store. After having a falling-out with her boyfriend, she is possessed by Linoge and kills him, only to find herself covered in blood when she snaps out of it. She's also the first person to notice that all of the kids are under the same spell, and has another Freak Out.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Born in lust, turn to dust. Born in sin, c'mon in!"
    • "Hell is repetition" shows up in a few of Stephen King's other works.
  • Closed Circle: Once the storm starts, Little Tall Island is completely cut off from the mainland and civilization. The residents can't get away from Linoge and have to either accept his deal or let him kill them all.
  • Close-Knit Community: Little Tall Island. Invoked by Linoge, as such communities have an abundance of people with skeletons in their closets and a propensity to keep secrets, the perfect location to get what he wants.
  • Con Man: Careful observation of Linoge's behavior and his actions make him seem like one of these.
    • Linoge claims to be a powerful immortal entity, but his displayed powers don't support that. The powers he displays are glamouring, producing bright blue light, small-scaled telekinesisnote , flight, psychic image projection, mind reading, mind control over vulnerable peoplenote , and dragging people into strange visions of flying in the sky through which he can drop and kill them because Your Mind Makes It Real. Note that this story references Derry, Maine, the infamous setting of It, and the home of the titular weather-controlling, soul-stealing, incomprehensible, town-wide mind controlling Eldritch Abomination. Compared to It, none of Linoge's powers are that impressive, and he never physically displays that he has the power to be that kind of threat, only claiming making the townsfolk believe that he does.
    • Linoge uses a dream to say that he can control everyone in the town into committing suicide. However, he never is able to control more than two adults at a time, and his power can be resisted. In addition, no one In-Universe noticed that if he did have that power, he could have just forced everyone into the town hall without all the theatrical threats.
    • He uses Roanoke as a comparison to what he intends to do to Little Tall Island, but he never actually says or shows the town exactly what he did to Roanoke. He only indirectly claims that he was responsible for the Roanoke Colony disappearance.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Linoge wants a child he can groom to be his replacement. Ralphie ends up being selected in the lottery, and becomes just like Linoge.
  • Cosmic Plaything: As Sonny laments what the town is going through and looks for some As the Good Book Says... wisdom, Mike relates the story of Job and all that was taken from him. As Mike says, a pleading Job asked why after a lifetime of devout worship.
    Mike: Job waits... and just as he's convinced that God isn't gonna answer him, a thunderhead forms in the sky. Lightning flashes and a voice calls down... "Job... I guess there's just something about you that pisses me off!"
  • Dark Secret: Linoge says it best: "Your town is full of adulterers, pedophiles, thieves, gluttons, murderers, bullies, scoundrels, and covetous morons. And I know every last one of them."
  • Deal with the Devil: "Give me what I want, and I'll go away." They do and he does.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Mike Anderson is a brutal deconstruction of The Heart, Token Good Teammate, and Wide-Eyed Idealist. Mike is one the most morally upright people on Little Tall Island, a devout Christian who always has a quote from the Bible ready. Mike is so moral that the worst secret Linoge could find is that he cheated on a math test in college. The problem is, as Linoge so eloquently puts it, he's the only morally upright person in a town full of shady people, all of whom have a skeleton or two in their closet. This frequently puts him at odds with the other townsfolk, even his own wife Molly, when they suggest more morally questionable methods (such as killing Linoge). This all boils to a head when Linoge finally makes his ultimatum: either they give him one of the children to raise as his own or he'll destroy the entire island. Mike desperately pleads with the town to not go through with this, attempting to appeal to their better natures. Unfortunately, a single person cannot sway an entire populace. Thus, his pleas fall on deaf ears and the town goes through with Linoge's deal. As a result, Mike's son Ralphie is chosen to be Linoge's apprentice. This causes Mike to completely lose faith in the townsfolk and he ultimately decides to divorce Molly and leave Little Tall Island in the end.
  • Dirty Coward: Kat accuses Billy of this when he harps on her abortion while completely ignoring his own infidelity. Linoge agrees with her when he cannot force Billy to bash Kat's head in. Instead, he makes Kat bash Billy's head in.
  • Downer Ending: Linoge gets what he wants, Mike loses his son and divorces his wife for going along with the lottery, Molly winds up in therapy (though she ultimately remarries), several people end up being Driven to Suicide out of shame for what they did or the Dark Secret they were hiding, and finally Mike gets to see his son after Linoge has corrupted him. Comes close to being a Shoot the Shaggy Dog Story.
  • Dreams of Flying: Linoge traps the children in a flying dream controlled by him. Your Mind Makes It Real comes into play when he threatens to drop them in the dream, which would kill them in real life.
  • Driven to Suicide: Linoge's preferred method of killing his victims, when he doesn't do it himself outright. Preceded, naturally, by Go Mad from the Revelation. As mentioned above in Downer Ending, a few characters kill themselves years after Linoge's visit since they can't live with their decision or their secrets anymore.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Linoge enters the story by beating an old woman to death, just so you know who the villain is.
  • The Everyman: Mike Anderson.
  • Evil Overlooker: Some covers show Andre Linoge ominously hovering over the small town he is menacing throughout the miniseries.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Andre Linoge.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: What happens to Angie Carver after she's kidnapped and given visions by Linoge. Her hair turning white isn't just from exposure to the snow...
  • Eye Scream: We're told that Martha's eyes were knocked right out of her head by Linoge beating her to death, and Mayor Beals is warned that Hell will consist of his eyes being eaten endlessly. The Dark Secret of one man that Linoge reveals is that he got in a drunken brawl and made another guy lose his eye. The ending shows that he willed what little money he had left after his wife divorced him to his victim before committing suicide. It also reveals that he gouged out his own eye beforehand to punish himself further.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Linoge continually taunts Mayor Beals about how he'll go to Hell and have his eyes eaten over and over again, as an ironic punishment for allowing his mother to die in truly horrible conditions. Considering everything else Linoge said was true, this may happen.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • It may be unintentional, but early on, Molly says, "The last thing I want is Alton Hatcher coming down on me." They get married in the epilogue.
    • Mike's take on Job highlights how a lifetime of being good doesn't protect someone from a power beyond their control. He loses his son to Linoge, ultimately divorcing his wife and leaving town.
  • Glamour: Linoge's true form is that of a robed, elderly man. Most of the time, he masquerades as a middle-aged man in winter apparel.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: We don't actually see Martha's face after Linoge beats her to death.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Linoge is capable of delivering these at the drop of the hat.
  • Heroic Willpower: Linoge cannot force Billy to kill Kat, though he implies the former is simply too much of a coward to do it rather than any moral fortitude. The reverse, however, is not true, implicitly because Kat does hate Billy enough right now for Linoge to push her into it.
  • Homophobic Hate Crime: Linoge reveals that one of the townspeople beat a gay man with two of his friends until he lost an eye because they felt attracted to him.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Mike's son Ralphie immediately starts bonding with Linoge and thinks of him as a new friend. Justified since 1) Linoge acts perfectly friendly towards Ralphie, 2) he doesn't make fun of his "fairy saddle" birthmark and 3) Ralphie is a small child.
  • Hostile Weather: The titular storm, which serves to isolate the island from the outside world and gives Linoge free reign.
  • Hypocrite: Molly turns her back on Mike and goes along with the town's decision to give Linoge a child. When Linoge chooses Ralphie, she breaks into unbelieving hysterics. While an entirely believable reaction under the circumstances, at least Mike had the integrity to not be okay with any resident losing a child.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Mike. The worst secret Linoge has on him is that he cheated on a college test to keep his scholarship. Compare that to a town full of secrets about beatings, abuse, or corruption. Linoge even says as much, noting that Mike won't find much in the way of similar company on Little Tall Island. It's also worth noting that he's the only one who can walk away from the whole mess with a clear conscience, while everyone else will have to live with what they did.
  • Invasion of the Baby Snatchers: André Linoge's goal is to take one of the town's children to raise as his successor. Although he is an incredibly long-lived wizard/demon compared to a human lifespan, he admits that he is not immortal by revealing that he's actually a frail old man beneath his Glamour. He lets the townfolk decide which of their children he'll take or he'll wipe out the whole town. They eventually decide on the protagonist's son against his father's will.
  • Invincible Villain: Linoge may not be long for this world (by his own standards; he'll still outlive every human he meets by many decades), but that really doesn't matter. The town is completely incapable of stopping him and anything they do to him is solely because he lets them do so.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: "I'm a little teapot..." King certainly seems to like using this one, since it also appears in Rose Red.
  • Kick the Dog: Linoge murders several people to show that it's within his power to do so.
  • Lighthouse Point: There's a lighthouse on Little Tall Island which featured prominently in trailers and promotional art, despite the fact no character in the miniseries ever interacts with it (except for one creepy segment with Linoge). However, it does get rather spectacularly toppled during the height of the snowstorm (a clear bit of miniature work), an event witnessed by most of the town which also leads to the disappearance and deaths of several characters. invoked
  • Light Is Not Good: Linoge can create blinding white light with his cane, but it's hardly a good sign.
  • Louis Cypher: A bit less obvious than most other instances, but it doesn't take much knowledge of theology to figure out the Significant Anagram of the name Linoge.
  • Master of Illusion: Most of Linoge's sorcery revolves around distorting the inhabitants of Little Tall's senses to make them see and hear what he wants them to see and hear, such as using glamours to alter his appearance and showing the villagers visions of their deaths to threaten them with.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Linoge = le neige, the snow.
    • LinogeLegion
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: An idea to get rid of Linoge, suggested by Molly of all people.
  • Mayor Pain: Robbie Beals is an incredibly headstrong Jerkass. It's not until Linoge humiliates him in front of all the townsfolk that he loses his ego.
  • Mundane Utility: Linoge uses his powers to make a TV continue working even after he's pitched a basketball through the screen. Hatch comments on the weirdness of being able to hear the TV even though it was obviously broken prior to them entering the house.
  • Mythology Gag: Robbie mentions Dolores Claiborne, who also lives (or lived) on Little Tall Island.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: When Linoge first arrives at the island, he beats an old woman to death.
  • Our Demons Are Different: As mentioned below, it is heavily implied that Linoge is the demon Legion mentioned in The Bible. When Mike figures out the anagram, he relates the story of Legion to the people with him at the time, just in case the viewers can't figure it out for themselves.
  • Pedophile Priest: Linoge implies this about Reverend Bobby Riggins.
  • Play-Along Prisoner: The only reason Linoge even goes to prison is because he clearly felt like screwing with the town for a bit before getting down to business. He could just have easily waited quietly until the storm isolated the island. It also helps to establish that they have no way of stopping him.
    Ralphie: [about his handcuffs] Why are you wearing those?
    Linoge: Because I choose to.
  • Present-Day Past: Part 2 contains a fairly blatant bit of Product Placement for a brand of Mac laptop that did not exist in the late '80s when the story is set.
  • Prophetic Names: Linoge = Legion, a Biblical demon.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: When Linoge isn't using his sorcerous powers to force people to murder one another, he's using it to force people to commit suicide. He threatens a psychic-assisted mass suicide should the town refuse him, though he implies at the end that this was a bluff.
  • Psychic Nosebleed: Linoge does this to Billy in the store, just to mess with him.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Linoge's true form is a very old man. He actually admits that his plot is based on the fact that he is dying of old age, though he also states that compared to the townsfolk's "mayfly" like lifespans, he'll still be around long after the vast majority of them are dead (although he concedes that some of the teenagers might outlive him).
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Mike's level-headed personality makes him a natural leader. Linoge even lampshades that Mike is one of the few people in town that could genuinely be said to be a good person, as opposed to most everyone else using the good as a coping mechanism. It also ends up alienating him from the rest of the townsfolk when they decide to sacrifice one of the kids.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Linoge enjoys delivering these to people. Usually in the form of a Hannibal Lecture.
    • In the epilogue Mike delivers a gut-wrenching one to Hatch. Itís calm and subdued but he makes it clear that the guilt the townspeople feel is meaningless to him and their pain is nothing compared to his because it was their decision that cost him his child.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Linoge does this occasionally.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Martha Clarendon's brutal murder is what sets Linoge's plan in motion.
  • Sadistic Choice:
    • "Give me what I want, and I'll go away." Linoge wants a child, or he'll make the entire town throw themselves into the ocean, disappearing like the Roanoke civilization. They reluctantly give up a child at random, and Linoge twists the knife by implying that he was bluffing about the mass suicide.
    • Mike lampshades this when he wonders about telling Molly that he saw Ralphie with Linoge nine years later. He ultimately decides to keep silent.
      Mike: When every choice hurts, how do you know which is the right one?
  • Scary Teeth: When he's doing something evil, Linoge will occasionally flash a mouth full of viper's teeth. Teenaged Ralphie flashes one to Mike in the epilogue, indicating Linoge got what he wanted: a successor.
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Cora Stanhope, easily the most vulgar townsperson in the movie. Linoge forces her to drown herself.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: After losing his son, Mike divorces Molly, quits his job as constable, and leaves Little Tall and never comes back.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Subverted. Mike tries to invoke this with Linoge, telling him that while everything Linoge knows about the town might be true, he's only focusing on the bad and ignoring the good.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: In response to the above, Linoge just laughs at Mike and tells him that the "good" that he focuses on is mostly just a figment of his own imagination.
  • Sinister Minister: The televangelist.
  • Small Town, Big Hell: With all of the shared secrets and rumors between the people of Little Tall Island, it's amazing they didn't start killing each other before Andre Linoge comes to town to set them against each other.
  • Spoiler Cover: There are covers which show Linoge in his real form as an ancient wizard in a robe, which wasn't revealed until the end of the miniseries.
  • Stock Unsolved Mysteries: Linoge implies (via dream) that he had come to a small island once before to "get what he wants," only to drown all its inhabitants when they refused him: Roanoke. This may or may not be true.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Courtesy of little Pippa Hatcher, upon slapping her mother's face. Granted, she was under Linoge's spell at the time...
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Everyone in town has a secret of some sort, with some being known (if not spoken aloud) and others considered so ghastly that the offenders are broken just by Linoge dropping hints. The biggie is the townspeople surrendering Ralphie to Linoge in order to save themselves. Afterwards, everything seemingly returns to normal, but some commit suicide over their guilt and inability to tell others what happened (either surrendering Ralphie or their own personal sins). Even Mike, the one person in town who wanted to refuse Linoge, keeps the secret because (as he says) he knows better.
  • Villain Reveals the Secret: Andre Linoge uses his virtual omniscience to reveal the horrible and embarrassing secrets of many of the people on Little Tall Island to mess with them.
  • Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?: Suggested frequently. It's not until Linoge demonstrates his ability to Bullet Catch that it stops being a solution.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Linoge uses his powers to steal the minds/souls of the town's children and put them in a flying dream that he has power over. If the town doesn't play his game and give one up, he'll drop them and they'll be gone forever.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: Averted in a Pet the Dog moment for Mayor Beals. While he is at first stunned and disbelieving about Davey Hopewell's claim that Martha Clarendon has been murdered, he takes the teenager's fear and shock seriously, getting him care and going to investigate.